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Xbox division's new boss is the guy who reportedly wanted to sell it off

Former Nokia executive Stephen Elop to replace Julie Larson-Green as head of Devices and Studios division.

Image credit: Sarah Tew/CNET
Image credit: Sarah Tew/CNET

Former Nokia executive Stephen Elop will take over control of Microsoft's Devices and Studios division--the business unit that includes Xbox and Surface--Microsoft confirmed to GameSpot sister site CNET after an internal memo leaked to GeekWire yesterday.

Interestingly, and perhaps ironically, a Bloomberg report from November said Elop would consider selling off the Xbox unit if he was named the next Microsoft CEO. He was not, as that position was filled last month by Satya Nadella, who is a "good supporter" of Xbox.

The report stated that if Elop got the job as CEO, he would be ready to sell or close major Microsoft business units--including Xbox--if he determined they are not critical to the company's strategic outlook. It's unclear if Elop--when he becomes the new Xbox division boss--would have the power to complete such a deal.

Microsoft has been urged by some high-profile investors to sell off the Xbox business unit. These investors, including Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen's investment group Vulcan Capital, say that though Xbox has been successful, it's also detracting from Microsoft's core competencies.

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Elop will replace outgoing Devices and Studios leader Julie Larson-Green, who moved into the role--replacing Don Mattrick who left for Zynga--just seven months ago. Larson-Green will transition to a new role at Microsoft where she will lead the "My Life & Work" team at the company's Applications and Services group.

"I want to thank each and every one of you for welcoming me and supporting me as the leader of Devices & Studios over the past 7 months. I'm very proud of what we have accomplished during such a short timeframe," Larson-Green said. "We launched Xbox One, Surface 2 & Pro 2, blockbuster games like Forza and Ryse, a brand new Xbox Music and Video service, PPI, and some amazing unannounced innovations just to name a few…"

"You are all in great hands with Stephen and already we've shared a lot with him and his LT from Nokia regarding all of the fantastic people, teams and products in DnS," she added. "I also know many of you are looking forward to welcoming the Nokia team and working more closely with them."

Elop joined Microsoft when the company purchased the handset maker's mobile business for $7.2 billion in September. Larson-Green will remain leader of the Devices and Studios division in the interim until the Nokia deal officially closes.

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the first official price cut for the Xbox One, cutting the price from £430 to £400 in the United Kingdom only effective on Friday. The company also revealed a special $500 Titanfall bundle that includes a copy of the game.

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